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Mom isn’t feeling well. She never is; at least not lately. She’s always locked in her room. Sometimes, if I listen real hard, I can hear her cry. She’s smart; so she makes sure it’s real quite. But I can hear her sniffling when the rest of the house is quiet.
Dad’s been gone ever since mom got sick. He says he hates to see mom like this, but the truth is he never even gives her a chance to get better. Whenever there’s a sign of trouble, he bolts, anything to get away from something emotional. So he managed to get transferred, he works in England now. He doesn’t love us enough to stick it out.
To cheer mom up, I decide I should bake brownies. She used to love the ones with the chocolate icing. We would spend hours, my mom and I, just baking heaps of batches of them. And then we would eat until our stomachs ached so much, that we couldn’t eat another bite
Mom would never, could never, be as good of a mom as Stella. But yet, I still love her. Because, well how can I help but love her? She’s my mom. And sometimes, she can be really great, but only when she’s having a good day.
I want to try and be nice; since mom loved these brownies then, why won’t she love them now too? I know it’s not the best time to have this idea, seeing as it’s really late; but I’m not going to let something like that stop me. I tiptoe into the kitchen in the middle of the night; so that, it will be a surprise. When I give mom the brownies, she will be so proud that I made them all by myself.
Making brownies isn’t as easy as it looks. You have to crack the eggs so that the shells don’t get in with the yolk. You have to measure the precise amount of sugar the recipe calls for. And you have to bake them for the right amount of time, or you’ll burn them.
All of these things go wrong for me. I am in despair, just sitting on the floor Thinking. Thinking, about how I wish things could work out the way they are in your head. But I have to give the brownies to mom; I worked so hard on them.
I peek in to her bedroom, and she’s fast asleep, snoring.
“Mom, I made you some brownies.”
“Go away, I’m sleeping.”
“Please mom? They’re your favorite kind, just try them.”
She gets up, and pushes me out the door.
“Stay out! I’m sleeping! Don’t interrupt me. It’s all your fault! Dad left because he couldn’t handle your constant need to try and fix things between him and me with something little. I can’t just eat to fill up the emptiness inside me. Nothing ever fills it up. I always end up feeling worse than I started out; so hollow inside. Why am I telling you this? You couldn’t possibly understand! Here’s the thing: Brownies can’t fix me, or this family!”
I take a deep breath, trying to hold in the tears I feel prickling in my eyes, at least until I reach Stella’s room. I run in through her door, and collapse on her soft, and cozy warm bed. Immediately, I burst into tears.
“I’m sorry; I heard her yelling. Did you bring the brownies with you? Let’s have a look at them.”
I hand over the brownies, still sobbing. Stella picks one up, examines it, and takes a bite.
“It isn’t so bad, it isn’t bad at all.”
I lean into her, and she strokes my hair soothingly. I cry into her hair. I know it’s kind of gross, but she doesn’t care. Why would she? She just wants to ease my pain. I take a brownie too. She’s right. It isn’t so bad.
“You know why it’s so good?”
“Because you made it with love. You can make me brownies anytime you want.”
“Maybe I will.”
It’s just my sister and I, alone; no one else matters, just her. I fall asleep in her arms, listening to the reassuring beat of her heart.